Here Are The Truly Depressing Stories Of Your Worst Automotive Decisions

Image credit: Raphael Orlove
Image credit: Raphael Orlove

On Friday, I asked you what your worst automotive decisions were. Since I work with David Tracy, I’ve heard and seen some shit. And so I wanted to know what ill luck had befallen the rest of you.


You didn’t disappoint. I was looking for some truly bad and heartbreaking stories. Some are beyond sad and some are beyond sad and also funny at the same time.

I’m sorry I laughed.

[Welcome back to Countersteer, where we ask you to tell us your greatest stories of success and failure, then we pull the very best of them to share with the rest of the world.]

The Eager Tuners (ColdSimon)

Everything’s all fun and games until the turbo blows.


Passing Up On Greatness (CalBearsFan99)

You know what they say: hindsight is 20/20.



Always check the engine bay before braying like a donkey.


Seafoam: Never Again (Zeniff)

Just don’t do it.


Oh You Fancy With Your Three-Piece Wheels (ESSSIX GmbH - Accountant/Wagon Thumper)

Can’t deny the cool factor of three-piece wheels, though.


Always Be On The Lookout For Those Red Flags (Hyperzuma)

If those flags start stacking up, it’s time to run for the hills.


Of Tow Trucks And Illinois Heat (jminer)

Maybe I’m not the only one who routinely runs into issues in certain states.


Let’s Buy All Of Them (arach)

Buy a car for wrenching. Buy a car for modding. Buy a car for Ferrari.


Buying At Night, In The Rain (We’re Jerrys. I know, right?)

When the sun came out, so did the rot.


Oil Is Fun To Breathe! (BrianMadigan)

Honestly, I’m surprised this guy made it as far as he did.


Any Story Involving Buying An MG (Murphie)

It always makes me sad when cars get abandoned, but sometimes it’s what you gotta do, I suppose.


But, But Pretty Fan Motors (SaMajeste)

The problem was discovered because of flip flops.


Black Cars, For Some Reason (8695Beaters)

It can’t all be a coincidence.


Sometimes The Worst IS The Best (golfball)

Everyone remembers their first modding experience.


Buying A Used Ambulance (Green Pig)

Here’s a hint: nobody babies those things.


The Impulse Purchase (79 horsepower monster)

When impulse and nostalgia combine, dangerous things can happen.


Fuck Rotary Engines (SlowpokeTexas)

Now you know why these things never caught on.


The Enabler (Beardface)

That is all.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.



Bummer. I missed this one. That’s what I get for not reading Jalopnik on weekends. I’ve made my share of bad car decisions, but none as bad as my parents’ repeated decisions to hold on to an old pickup.

I learned to drive in a 1989 GMC Sierra 1500. My parents bought it from my grandpa for $4000 when I turned 15. It had never given him one bit of trouble.

When I was 16, I took it up to the mountains on a snowboarding trip. During the course of the day, the roads got icy. I did the logical thing and threw it into 4wd... except I didn’t understand the difference between 4 high and 4 low (obviously, this was before I knew anything about cars). The truck didn’t have a tach, so I didn’t realize I had been driving for about a half hour with the engine bouncing off the rev limiter at 60mph. Then came a big bang and lots of smoke. The engine was toast. I felt terrible, but they forgave me. Learned my lesson.

$4000 for a new engine, though- as much as they payed for the truck itself. But at that point, it was basically a new truck, right?

Wrong. About a year later, I was driving to school when all of a sudden, LURCH CLANK BANG. Catastrophic transmission failure. Not my fault this time, but it still sucked.

$3000 for a new transmission, but at that point, it was basically a new truck, right?

Nope. A few months later, on the way to school again, I was making my way up a hill when the engine started bogging like crazy. Just barely made it to the top with a big long line of angry cars behind me.

$1000 for new fuel lines, but at that point, it was basically a new truck, right?

Actually, at that point, the truck made it another 7 years with only basic maintenance, but they ended up selling this truck with well over $12k invested for $2000. Oof.